Written by Megan Hill, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
Some 16 years after he left Formula 1, Jacques Villeneuve will drive an F1 car once again. He will be driving the A521, the 2021 Alpine Formula 1 car, at Monza.
As a part of the 25th anniversary of his championship-winning 1997 season, the French sports channel (Canal +) came up with a plan to seat the Canadian in one of Alpine’s cars. The Canadian isn’t unfamiliar with the Enstone-based team as he drove for them for the last three races of the 2004 season. He also worked with current team principal Otmar Szafnauer during his time at BAR (British American Racing).
“It’s an outing because of that,” he told Motorsport.com. “But it’s last year’s car at Monza and you cannot detune them, so it’ll be proper laps.”
“I just have to make sure I have a good seat. It will be hell, because the G forces will be incredible. The good thing is that you have a long straight line. So physically you can relax!”
The Canadian acknowledges that the steering wheel controls have gotten more complicated since he last raced in 2006.
“It’s when it’s not a habit that it becomes difficult, when you start looking at the steering wheel and think oh, what does that mean that you don’t have the time. But when it becomes a habit, it’s second nature, then it becomes easy.”
“I’ve never stopped wanting to do this. So my goal lately has been to get to NASCAR. After doing Daytona this year, that kinda put me in the mood of trying to get a season going. But right now I’m so busy with TB that it kinda blocks anything else.”
Canal+ commentator Julien Febreau, who also has racing experience under his belt, will also have a chance to race the A521 at Monza. Alpine will also use this year’s car, the A522, for a filming day.
Villeneuve and Febreau will sample a 2012 Lotus E20 at Paul Ricard to gain some “driving experience” before their runs at Monza.